What To Do In The Garden In October

Prune fruit trees
Any upward growing shoots can be removed completely to retain the tree’s original frame. Dead wood may also be apparent in October and should be sawn off. How can you tell the difference between dead and live wood? Deadwood is brittle and often already broken in places. A gardener’s rule for testing on less obvious wood is to carefully scrape back a small fragment of bark either with a knife or, if possible, with your fingernail and if it’s green underneath it’s alive, if it’s brown underneath it’s dead.



Start raking leaves
It’s time to blow the dust off your best leafing equipment and start collecting the leaves that drop on your lawn, beds and borders – don’t forget to put the leaves on your compost heap.
Keep a pile of leaves to one side, they’ll make an ideal hibernation spot for wildlife – but remember not to disturb it until the ground thaws in spring!



Pinch out spring flowering bedding plants
When you receive plug plants in the post in autumn they can often appear to be a bit leggy. There’s nothing to worry about, they will push out naturally as soon as they’re planted out, but to help them along you can pinch them out.

It’s easy to do, simply pinch off the growing tip just above a lower down node (where the plant branches out) about half way up the stem. This can be done with your thumb and forefinger.



Remove canes and stakes
As you cut your perennials back more and more canes and stakes will be left in your borders with no use until next spring. To make sure you have a lovely winter garden, take in all the canes and store them somewhere dry until it’s time for them to go out again in the spring.



Plant bulbs
Now’s the time to plant spring flowering bulbs. Generally bulbs should be planted at three times their own depth. Use a trowel or bulb planter to create a hole for each bulb. Position the bulb (pointed end upwards) at the bottom of the hole and replace the soil. The bulbs will remain dormant until the spring when you’ll begin to see their leaves emerging through the soil.

  • You can create a woodland effect by planting bulbs under trees and shrubs, such as Bluebells and Primulas.
  • The pink-ish purple of Anemone blanda really sets off the vibrant yellow of Narcissus Tete-a-Tete and is a great combination for beds and borders.
  • Try planting Tulips in containers with low growing plants such as Pansies for a colourful display.



Dig up tuberous plants for storing over winter
It’s important to get round to this before the first frosts arrive in order to avoid the risk of damage on tender tuberous plants, such as Cannas, Dahlias and Begonias. Once you have dug your tubers from the ground they need to be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight over the winter. Either cardboard or wooden wine crates are ideal for storing tubers.

  • Dust off any excess soil from the tubers.
  • Position the tubers side by side (not on top of each other) in the boxes.
  • Place the boxes in a dry place out of direct sunlight and keep them there until January, when they can be potted up and grown on in the greenhouse




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